So have you heard the new one? That Fabian Cancellara, the multiple World Champion professional bike racer, used a hidden electric assist device on his bikes to win two of the major Spring classics? The rumors had become so fervent that the racer was forced to take the time and actually deny the charges. What has cycling come to?
This morning we came across an AP story that cited a team manager for Cofidis stating that the Tour De France should vigilantly inspect bikes for potential devices. In a previous article we covered Mr Landis’s recent acknowledgment of continuous doping and allegations against other major American riders. The French are salivating at a chance to potentially catch Mr Armstrong for doping. Why has professional cycling become a hotbed of naysayers against success?
For us tandem teams the idea of an electric assist is of interesting promise. The unit is placed within the seat tube and attaches via a gear to the crank arm. With the flick of a switch the small motor helps to turn the crank arms and propel the machine. The batteries and motor are not powerful enough to rocket the bike along but for tandem teams looking for a little help on steep climbs or an extra boost on long flat roads these type of units could be beneficial.
In addition, electric assist systems could be the answer for a large number of potential bike commuters. Commuting by bike to work tends to be a distance and effort formula where if work is too close the side-effects of breaking a sweat are not worth the short travel or if work is too far away the extra time takes away from a productive day. The addition of a small electric motor to ease the burden could make the difference between starting a car or sitting on a bike.
In teh end we will ignore th allegations against Cancellara as ludicrous but continue to monitor the potential for electric assist in bikes.